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JANGADAS do BRAZIL

JANGADAS do BRAZIL (73 photos) Send this reportage Send this reportage
The jangada is a wooden logs raft used by the fishermen of North Eastern do Brazil. Mentioned for the first time in a letter written by Pero Vaz de Caminha on May 1st, 1500, during the discovery of Brazil , the primitive jangada was made of an assembly of wood logs and known under the Portuguese name of almadia (canoe) and piperi by the tupi indigenous people.
© P. Plisson./TheReportage.com
Categories: Marine & Boat, Fishing, Sea, Tourism, Travel, Sea sports
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The ones seen by the Portuguese in 1500 in the south of the actual state of Bahia (Eastern Brazil) did not have sails. It seems like the addition of the sail was either of Caribbean or of Aruacos, a tribe from the north coast of Brazil, influence. In tupi language, the sail’s name was cutinga i.e. “the white language”.

An amusing description made by French traveller Ferdinand Denis in his 1939 book “History and description of all peoples” enlightens us on the jangadas met in the open seas of Recife:

“The jangada is a sort of embarkation peculiar to the Pernambuce coast that almost always astonishes the traveller. It is ordinarily made with three pieces of wood of twelve to fifteen feet long over eight to nine thumbs large, barely square, and attached by two ties. One of these is pierced with a single hole for the mast holding the sail, the other one is there to support a small bench of two feet high on which the pilot can crouch in order to shelter from the blade that, at each instant can submerge the embarkation. A stake, put behind the mast is used to suspend the manioc bag and the soft water bottle of the pilot. There are three men on each jangada. When the wind makes it lean too hard, these daring coasters suspend themselves on the other side to keep the balance; they all swim with an extraordinary ability. If the embarkation capsizes, and it hardly ever does, you slip, between two beams, a board used as a keel and as a drift. You pull out the mast and the bench, you plant them back on the part of the raft that has the upper hand, and sailing goes on, as if no incident had ever occured. These jagandas are far closer to the wind than the keel buildings, they ride the sea with an admirable speed; and it is not rare, people say, to see them going ten miles an hour. Almost all the coastal traffic for objects that do not fear being wet is made with these strange embarkations: we met some fifteen miles off the coast”.
The actual jaganda is made of a flat shell on which are installed two benches: o banco de mastro, the mast bench is used to support the mast threaded in the sail and o banco de mestre, the bench of the back driver. At the centre of the shell exists a crack enabling to slip the drift inside it.
Despites its rudimentary aspect, it has the same adjustments as a modern regatta sailing boat: mast bottom and a wind listening spot or under the wind to settle the hollow of the sail, tension on the point of haul as a Cunningham would do on the rope of the sail… and the team members, at the departure of the beach, wet the sail in order to close again the fibres and to make it flatter therefore more efficient on the strong wind of Céara. In a word, nothing to envy from the modern sailing boats conceived by computer!